What to do when your pressure washer won’t stay running

Pressure washer won't stay running
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you’re a fan of home improvement projects, a pressure washer is your friend. “Pressure washing provides thorough, deep cleaning that can prevent long-term damage to your home,” says Courtney Klosterman, Consumer Trends Expert at Hippo.

If you’re new to pressure washing, you may be wondering what to do when your pressure washer won’t stay running. There’s nothing more frustrating than preparing for a big job and your pressure washer letting you down. 

It’s worth learning about how to troubleshoot common problems. We’ll walk you through it step-by-step so you can gain confidence and avoid confusion.   

If it’s time to invest in a replacement, check out our guide to the best pressure washers (opens in new tab). You might also want to look into the cheap pressure washer deals (opens in new tab) for a great bargain as well. Look for devices with a good warranty for your peace of mind.

For now, let’s dive into what to do when your pressure washer won’t stay running. 

What to do when your pressure washer won’t stay running

Wondering what to do when your pressure washer won’t stay running? First, check the manufacturer’s guidelines for instructions specific to your model.

Your next steps depend on whether you have a gas or electric model.

What to do with electric pressure washers

Turn off your pressure washer at the mains as a safety precaution. Check whether you can smell burning. This is a sign of a serious problem -  you may need to call in a pro. 

An extension cord may be the source of the problem. They can cause your pressure washer to stall or lose pressure. Try attaching the device directly and see whether it makes a difference. 

Next, check whether the fuse has blown and needs replacing. In an older house, the wiring may cause issues, according to manufacturer Simpson (opens in new tab). Contact an electrician if you suspect this applies to you.

What to do with gas pressure washers

Not used your pressure washer in a while? It’s likely the fuel has gone stale and sticky. This can clog the carburetor, which mixes fuel and air to the correct ratio. Try draining the fuel and cleaning it before refueling. 

The fuel cap is another common culprit. Check it is properly sealed. If it’s damaged, it will need replacing. 

These steps will help you do basic troubleshooting yourself, but if in doubt, call a local pro. 

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Louise Bond is a UK-based writer specializing in health and wellbeing. She has over eight years of experience in management within health and care and brings this passion and expertise to her writing. Louise has been published in The Guardian, Live Science, Fit & Well, Tom’s Guide, Planet Mindful, Breathe, and Psychreg. She is at her happiest when she is out in nature, whether that’s on an invigorating hike or pottering in the garden.

With contributions from